Zhangjiajie Travel Guide
Zhangjiajie is located in the south of China. It is a prefecture city of Hunan Province, in the northwest. It is about 400 kilometers (249 miles) from Changsha, the provincial capital of Hunan. Zhangjiajie was formerly named Dayong City. As the fame of Zhangjiajie National Forest Park is much bigger than the city itself, so the whole city changed its name to Zhangjiajie.
Zhangjiajie is famous for its grotesque peaks, limpid water and streams, dense forests and odd karst caves. In 1982, Zhangjiajie National Forest Park became China's first national forest park. Zhangjiajie is a natural zoo and green treasure trove. The forest coverage rate is over 95%, with more than 1,000 plant species. There are also rare animals such as the red-billed Leiothrix ("Peking Nightinggale"), macaques, South China tigers, giant salamanders and rhesus monkeys.
The American Hollywood director, James Cameron, visited Zhangjiajie and was deeply attracted by the amazing scenery. So he used the pictures taken in Zhangjiajie for his famous 3D film, Avatar. The floating mountain in the film is the Qiankun Pillar in Zhangjiajie. Because of the film, it was later renamed "Hallelujah".
In 2006, the Russian Air Force performed their acrobatic flight skills over Tianmen Mountain, Zhangjiajie, which brought worldwide fame for both the city and the scenic area.
Attractions in Zhangjiajie
Zhangjiajie National Forest Park is one of several national parks within Wulingyuan Scenic Area. Wulingyuan Scenic Area consists of four parts: Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, Yangjiajie Natural Reserve Area, Suoxiyu Scenic Area, and Tianzishan Scenic Area. It covers an area of 369 square kilometers. In 1992 Wulingyuan Scenic Area was listed as a World Natural Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Besides Wulingyuan Scenic Area, there is also Jinbian Stream (Golden Whip Stream), Yellow Stone Stronghold (Huangshi Village) , Yuanjiajie, Tianmen Mountain, Puguang Temple, Mengdong River, and the famous Phoenix Town is not far.
Glass Skywalk in Tianmen Mountain —try it and you will feel like you are walking in the sky. It is very exciting!
Jinbian Stream (Golden Whip Stream) —it is one of the most beautiful parts of Zhangjiajie National Forest Park. It was where the Mountain of Flowers and Fruits in the TV play series A Journey to the West was filmed.
Yellow Stone Stronghold (Huangshi Village) —you can see the peak forest there.
Yuanjiajie — you will see the "Hallelujah Mountain" which appeared in the film Avatar.
A ticket to Wulingyuan Scenic Area is valid for three days. It is a comprehensive ticket, which costs 248 yuan (about USD 40) and includes a three-day park pass, free rides on the internal bus system, and insurance. Students under 25 years old with valid student ID (this also applies to foreigners if you show your passport) can buy student tickets for 160 yuan (plus an additional 3 yuan for the insurance).
You can also get a discounted ticket if you are 60 or over. Just show your passport to prove your age.
Zhangjiajie has a subtropical monsoon climate, with abundant sunshine and rain. The annual sunlight exposure is 1,440 hours, and the precipitation is 1,400 millimeters. The average highest temperature is 37°C (98°F) while the lowest is 4°C (39°F).
There is heavy fog in the park in the rainy season (April–June). The forest park is usually very humid during this period. Besides, there can be a big temperature gap within one day. In early morning or late afternoon, it can be 18°C (64°F). However, at noon, it can rise up to 30°C (80°F).
Best Times to Visit
From September to October, the autumn foliage becomes colorful and is very beautiful. Also, the temperature is quite good; a long-sleeved shirt and a thin coat will keep you warm enough.
From April to May, it is the rainy season in Zhangjiajie. The road will be slippery and the mountains will be covered by extensive fog, which gives it an enchanting atmosphere.
From December to February, it may snow or become frozen. It could be very cold in the mountainous area, with slippery roads; it is not very safe. Besides, the park is closed for one week in February for routine maintenance, so it is not recommended to visit during this time.
Zhangjiajie Hehua International Airport has flights to Hong Kong, Macau, Seoul and Busan in Korea, as well as to Fukuoka and Osaka in Japan.
For domestic cities, there are daily direct flights to and from Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Xi'an, Shenyang, and Changsha.
However, some of the cities, such as Shenzhen, Tianjin, and Xiamen, only have flights available every three or four days, not every day. If it is not convenient to fly to Zhangjiajie directly, you can go via Changsha as a transit city.
There are limited trains going to Zhangjiajie directly. You can go via Changsha where there are more options for you to choose to get to Zhangjiajie. For example, train, bus or flight.
From Zhangjiajie Airport to Zhangjiajie City, it costs about 20–40 yuan. From Zhangjiajie Airport to Wulingyuan Scenic Area entrance is about 100 yuan.
Note: Some taxi drivers may be unwilling to use the meter. They may attempt to charge you a "parking lot fee". If this is the case, you can call your hotel/hostel and ask them to speak with the taxi driver for you. It is also recommended that you negotiate the price with the driver before you start the journey.
Hotels in Zhangjiajie are mainly scattered in three areas: Suoxiyu area, downtown Zhangjiajie, and in the forest park. Though Suoxiyu is a bit further than the other two areas from the airport or the railway station, it is rather convenient to visit the attractions. If you stay near the railway station, it would be a lot of trouble to go to the scenic spot and back every day, as there is a long distance between them.
You are recommended to stay near the bus station because the transportation is more convenient there. However, the most comfortable way is to stay inside the scenic area.
The roads from the airport to the scenic area are winding mountain roads. Visitors who suffer from carsickness are recommended to take some medication in advance, or to ask the driver to slow down the speed.
Questions and Answers About Zhangjiajie Travel Guide
Hi Maggie, Zhangjiajie is very beautiful, with marvelous nature scenery. But there are no direct transportations from Dongguan to Zhangjiajie. You can take the flights from Guangzhou or Shen to Zhangjiajie. Do you mean you will start this Saturday? I will send you a proposal a bit later.Whitney Liao replied on 2013-04-25
Hi Bordyn, March in Zhangjiajie is not springtime. During this month, the lowest temperature is 7 °C (45 °F) and the highest temperature is 16 °C (61 °F). Prepare warm clothes, such as a coat with a thick woolen sweater. March marks the transition period from winter to spring, and the temperature differences between day and night are large, so dressing in layers is suggested.Whitney Liao replied on 2013-02-05
- Chinese Name: 张家界
- Chinese Pinyin: zhāng jiā jiè
- Location: South of China
- Province: Hunan
- Latitude: 28° 55' N
- Longitude: 109° 58' E
- Elevation: 183 M (600 FT)
- Time Zone: (UTC+8)
- Area Code: 0744
- Population: 1.6 million